Review of The Witch & Mad Girl

"Cautionary tales of obsessive love" by katy vans for remotegoat on 23/03/08

The first show had the excellently cast Lydia Hourihan as the doll-like Cerena - the Mad Girl. We find her living with artist Iris, played by Lauren Shein in a well-rounded and engaging performance. The obsessive Iris cannot stop drawing Cerena but we become aware very early on that she sees her as more than just a muse. Cerena spends her days pining over Victor the man who left her 3 years previously. I was rather hoping that Victor would never appear as the interplay between the two women was compelling viewing, but when he did Cerena finds it hard to reconcile him with the man she remembers. It is not just her delusional outlook that is the cause of this - the man she has been obsessing about is not the same man at all, the distance of time making him a perfect love that the real Victor cannot possibly live up to.

The second piece was The Witch an adaptation of a short story by Chekhov. Lucy Leigh played Raisa an unhappy wife married to the puritanical Savely performed with energy and humour by Fergus Rees. Savely's constant lusting after his wife and her rejection of him feeds his belief that she must be a witch, his somewhat cynical and backward view of a woman who has her own desires. On a snowy night the rampant Raisa fantasises about the postman making a visit, and just like magic he duly does appear. This desperate housewife rejects the physical love she could be having at home preferring instead the ideal fantasy of making love to the postman. With atmospheric music and lighting this was an enjoyable play with well-acted performances.

Both short pieces highlighted how we can idealise past loves; obsess over unattainable objects of desire and how the wish to live in a fantasy world can be strong when your reality is so disappointing.

Russian Seasons